Lionel Messi. Infinite corridors. Tiger Woods. Physical maturity. Gazelles and ogres.
Our conversation has wandered far and wide so far. Having talked about what natural athletes are and are not, today we will revisit some of those points to find some ways that you can become a better athlete. I think in many cases there is nothing stopping you becoming better than those 'naturals' given some hard, smart work.
Here we go.
1) Unconscious strategies
Namely what to pay attention to, that you randomly selected can help or hinder you before you know it. If you're reading this, I'd feel safe in betting on you being old enough to know it know. Now you know that better strategies than you currently use exist, you can go about substituting for a better way of doing.
I visit the US in a few weeks to work with a group of young soccer players to help them learn to change some of their unconscious strategies for those used by elite players through a form of extreme imitation. If I can do a stunning imitation of Michael Jordan on a basketball court, I'd a) be a rich man and b) not be playing like Arton.
I could go into detail here about the idea of substituting your unconscious strategies for better ones but I kind of already did. Check out www.youtube.com/user/thebeautifulaim if this topic is of interest to you.
High quality, frequent and consistent deliberate practise is a prerequisite for nearly every high level skill, sport or otherwise. There are a tonne of great books out there on the subject. The first two that spring to mind are 'Bounce' by Matthew Syed and 'Outliers' by Malcolm Gladwell. As great as they are, they will not make you any better and those 'naturals' are already further along that ability spectrum than you are. You can't make up for lost time but you can start right now. That would be my suggestion if you want to improve to whatever level. High quality practise now.
3) Move smoother
Smooth may sound like some unimportant aesthetic quality that you can do without. It isn't in two major ways. Smooth movement increases your odds of staying injury free and in the game. Changing your unconscious strategies and engaging in more high quality practise can't happen if you're not fit for them to. Remember - I know from personal experience. Health is number one.
Once you are able to practise and play, I'm betting that you want to do so in an exemplary way. Examplars almost always make what they do look easy and effortless. Game-changing performances tend to look smooth so I really believe and know from all the work I have done with athletes of all levels across a range of sports that developing smoothness is a reliable way to game-changing performances. My thing here at Float Sting is helping people to move smoother so they can strike harder in their sport. Come see me, somebody like me or take up some sort of practise that helps you develop that smoothness, control, ease and power of movement.
This is the first time in all my time writing for Float Sting that I have written a six part series.
The truth is I could have written a lot more. Maybe I will one day.
What drove me to write this is an unshakeable belief that you can get much better than you are right now.
If you ever thought that you weren't born to do whatever it is you do to a very high level, I would hope that through reading this series you've really thought about what I said and at least examined your own beliefs on the matter. I don't write academically because I find it dry but know that most of what I have said is backed heavily by scientific literature.
There's very little that's natural about any of us. We are constantly responding to and learning from our interactions with the world. We change. Even our DNA and genes, some of our most fundamental building blocks, change throughout our lifetime.
If you don't want to change and be better, that's fine. If you do, don't let sloppy thinking, little-known processes, false comparisons or anything else fool you into thinking on the whole that you are any less capable of developing a skill than the next person. That's a tragic way to rob yourself.
Let the examples of those who make their incredible sports performances look effortless do nothing other than inspire you to think,
"Wow. They're flesh and blood just like me. I wonder how I can get that good at that."
Then use some of these tips in going about creating some unnaturally amazing abilities of your own.
Arton "Unnatural" Baleci
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